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Contribute to the identification of needs and preferences of an individual with multiple conditions and/or disabilities thorough observation and interaction


This page is designed to answer the following questions:

Part of working in a person-centred way means being able to identify the needs and preferences of individuals that are receiving care. Often this will be achieved through communication and interaction but observation can also be used.


All care workers have the responsibility to ensure they take a person-centred approach and should work to improve the care that they, their team and their organisation provide.

Here are some examples of identifying the needs and preferences of an individual with multiple conditions and/or disabilities:

  • An individual tells you that they don’t like to eat cereal and prefer toast for breakfast
  • An individual never eats breakfast, which is usually cereal, so you try other breakfast options. You discover that they like toast instead.
  • Sometimes an individual gets very upset and will ignore their care staff when asked if they are ready for a bath. You notice that the pattern of behaviour occurs whenever staff ask after 8pm. You suggest to your team that everyone asks the individual if they want their bath between 6pm and 7pm at the latest as you believe the individual refuses because they are tired and want to go to bed.
  • You notice an individual often spills some of their drink because their hand shakes uncontrollable. You suggest that the individual gets a double-handled mug so that they have more control.
  • An individual shows you a picture of a farm on their laptop. You ask them if they would like to visit a farm and they nod. You pass this onto your manager to arrange the activity.

When you have identified needs and/or preferences, you should pass this information on to your manager and the rest of your team so that everyone can adjust their practice for the benefit of the individual.

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